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  1. #1
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    Nov 2009
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    50

    How to fire a torch from Mach3?

    If I wanted to fire a relay to fire a torch out of Mach3, how would I do that?

    Let me explain. I have a 4x8 table I built. It's a Precision Plasma gantry machine, PM45, with CandCNC electronics.

    The trouble is it won't stay fired while cutting. The signal that fires the torch flickers on on off during a cut. I've been through the whole lamp test thing (and yes, the lamp flickers when the torch cuts out). I don't really want to launch into a trouble shooting thing again. And I'm not going to keep replacing computer systems until one of them hopefully replaces something that fixes the problem.

    The way I eventually worked around the problem was I wired up a hand-held momentary switch. When the torch fires, I press the switch and hold it down during the cut to keep it fired. All I'm doing is manually bridging the gap in signal.

    I would like to replace me and my switch with a relay. That's all I want. I want to figure out how to fire a relay in Mach3. If I have to assign an M code, then fine. If I need to install another serial port, then that would be cool. I just want to fire a relay completely isolated from the CandCNC control box and it's outputs. But I don't know how to do that. And I was hoping someone could tell me how to do that. And I'm open to all kinds of solutions. I'll use a USB port or serial port ....or whatever, but I just want to turn a relay on and turn it off and I want it totally isolated from the CandCNC box.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2007
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    342
    I don't understand why you don't fix your problem correctly. There are literally thousands of CandCNC equipped machines out there running without problems. I am sure customer service there has given you advice (if you have contacted them) - have you followed it? If they recommend a different computer have you done that?

  3. #3
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    Nov 2009
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    Yes. Twice. I'm on the third computer system. I've replaced electronics. I've removed software updates, I've installed software updates. Yes, I've called support. Yes, I've followed their suggestions. I've read the manuals. I've poured over them.

    So, like I was saying, I don't really want to launch back into more trouble shooting, more system replacements, and more money spent on solutions that might work. I want to bypass it completely. And it really shouldn't be that complicated, I'm just ignorant to the process and hoping someone can tell me how to do it.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2009
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    How about this.

    I buy this One Relay Controller off ebay: USB One Relay Controller RS232 Serial Controlled | eBay

    I follow these instructions to install it: KMtronic USB relays from Mach3 - step by step

    I remove the green and yellow (I think that's the right color - I'm working from memory) wires from the CandCNC THC Sensor PWM Module that are supposed to fire the torch and hook them up to my new USB relay.

    Does anyone see a problem with this? Am I missing something? Some kind of conflict I'm missing? A reason why it won't work?

  5. #5
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    50
    Quote Originally Posted by aaronbee View Post
    How about this.

    I buy this One Relay Controller off ebay: USB One Relay Controller RS232 Serial Controlled | eBay

    I follow these instructions to install it: KMtronic USB relays from Mach3 - step by step

    I remove the green and yellow (I think that's the right color - I'm working from memory) wires from the CandCNC THC Sensor PWM Module that are supposed to fire the torch and hook them up to my new USB relay.

    Does anyone see a problem with this? Am I missing something? Some kind of conflict I'm missing? A reason why it won't work?
    So, to answer my own questions, "Yes! It will work!"

    Of course, it wasn't quite as simple as KMtronic's step-by-step instructions made it out to be. I had to install several windows component updates to get their USB virtual COM Port drivers to work. But it eventually did work.

    Next, their DLL and VCP didn't want to work on COM Port 3 in Mach3 using BladeRunner AIO-DTHC-UBOBIII profile. I had to change the USB COM Port from 3 to 7 to make it fire the relay using their relay function. Under COM Port 3 every time I tried to trigger the relay Mach3 spit out an error message at me "Error CreateFile failed!", but changing the USB COM Port number to 7 fixed it.

    To get the relay to work with the torch button in Mach3, I had to change it from an OEM button to a VB Script:

    DoOEMbutton(110)
    Dim x As Integer
    Declare Function Relay Lib "KMSerial.dll" (ByVal comPort As Integer, ByVal numberRelay As Integer, ByVal command As String)As Boolean
    x = GetOEMled(11)
    If X = -1 Then
    a=Relay(7,1,"ON")
    Else
    a=Relay(7,1,"OFF")
    End If

    I don't know if it's a good way to do it, but it worked. I can use the torch on/off toggle button and it fires my torch using the USB Relay.

    Long and short of it is, my CNC machine is now a CNC machine... not a CandME machine. I don't have to stand there pushing a button to make it work. And I didn't have to replace my computer yet again to make it work. Turns out my computer is quite capable of operating a relay....even while running a g-code file. I clicked the "run" button and sat back and watched it actually run. And what got replaced wasn't the computer, it was the temperamental hardware attached to the computer.

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